Street Youth and Social Schemas


There are two requirements that must be met for individuals to participate: 1) they must have been homeless any time in the past year, and 2) they must be between 16 and 24 years old.


The purpose of this study is to explore areas of street youth’s lives of which very little is known. For example, little is known about their family lives, their school experiences, their experiences with the police, their lives on the street, and how these experiences impact the attitudes they develop, and the way they understand the world. We hope to understand how all of these factors might influence how often they use drugs and alcohol, and to what extent they are involved in behaviour that contravenes the law.

How will this research help LGBT people and communities?

One of the main goals of the project is to understand the various experiences that homeless youth in the GTA navigate as well as the extent and frequency that homeless youth receive support from various sources (e.g., family, friends, and service providers). Questions on the survey asks about gender identity and sexual orientation, and based on this information, we can determine if there is a difference between supports that homeless heterosexual, cisgender youth receive in comparison to homeless LGBT youth. For example, on average do LGBT youth feel that they receive less support and how does this affect their experiences with homelessness and their involvement in various forms of behaviour that contravenes the law? Understanding this information has important implications which will help to develop targeted programming for youth who have specific needs and will help us discern what types of supports are most influential for youth to alleviate homelessness.


Participants will receive a $30 McDonald

What mitigation measures are in place to reduce potential distress caused to participants as a result of being part of the research study?

Those who choose to participate will be informed that they can choose not to answer any questions that make them feel uncomfortable or they find objectionable and they can choose to withdraw from the study and have their data immediately destroyed. If they withdraw, they will still receive the food gift card.No information will be collected that will identify the youth or the organization. Although youth are asked to sign an informed consent form, these documents will be kept separate from the questionnaires to ensure complete confidentiality. To further minimize any risk of discomfort or distress, a list of resources will be available for youth if they need to seek help or talk to someone about the things they have discussed in the research study. The questions on the survey do not require elaboration (most are closed ended questions) so youth are not expected to go into depth about their experiences, which may also mitigate the risk of distress.There are cases where I have arrangements with the agencies I am working with where I come and do the surveys only when they have additional resources available for youth who may require them (counselling services on Monday and Wednesday, for example).

When do you anticipate that this study's findings will be available?



Name: Ashley DePaola, PhD Candidate at Queen


Website: N/A


Dr. Stephen Baron, Queen

Funded By

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant



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